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Gagging to start gigging? Then you’ll need a serious guitar amp. Here are four mid-price, roadworthy amplifiers that’ll take you all the way to Wembley…
You wouldn’t go to war with a water pistol. You wouldn’t take a tennis ball to a test match. And unless you want to be eaten alive by the mob, you wouldn’t pitch up on the modern club circuit with your trusty five-watt ‘Bedsit Baby’ practice amp.
With album sales down, but live music booming, the fledgling rock band of 2010 spends far more time on the motorway than kicking back at Abbey Road, meaning that a serious amp with gig-friendly features should be at the top of your shopping list.
For this round-up, we're rolling out the big guns. Of course, they’ve all got a bit of grunt, but with most serious live venues supplying a PA, that wasn’t our only consideration.
Instead of going for the predictable quartet of stacks, then, we’ve picked out four big-brand combos that will hopefully meet the other key demands of the travelling guitarist; tone that will seduce the sceptics, features we can get to work in the dark, cabinets that will keep rocking when the lager starts to fly, change from £1000…
First choice was the Marshall MA50C (£548), with an all-valve format that makes our palms sweat just thinking about it. Kirk Hammett’s signature solid-state Randall KH75 (£373) starts the test as the dark horse, while Peavey’s Vypyr Tube 120 (£645) would have us believe that it’s big and clever. Bringing up the rear, the ‘F’ word is back, with Fender’s valve-powered Deluxe VM amp (£665) facing a battle to justify its hefty outlay. Testing, testing, 1-2-3…